June 2012 saw me return to the world of the 9-to-5 with a new IT position at an organization with similar values. I wasn't able to do much last month other than work at recovering a couple sites that had tanked due to Penguin. This had worked out pretty successfully I might add. I also took the time to prune my portfolio, weeding out sites that I don't like and making new ones in niches that I do like. Generally I hover between 40-60 sites at a time, but as of now I am at the low end of that spectrum. I'm keen on entering discussion with Hayden Miyamoto of NoHatSEO, who was recently featured on a couple of Spencer Haws' podcasts. This is a guy who knows how to scale up, and is willing to help me with some advice on how to do that. So, I'm excited for when that can happen.
A few months back I opened up a Fiverr gig reselling SEMRush reports. This month I decided to stop offering the gig, mostly due to new gigs popping up that have basically copied mine (word-for-word descriptions I might add) but almost quadrupling the amount of reports being sold. In addition, I had received multiple bogus orders from competition where they wouldn't send me the information required to complete the gig. They do this so that they can leave you negative feedback after you fail to deliver. Luckily Fiverr support put a stop to that for me though. In the end, I figured that I had milked that cow for all its worth already, so I decided to suspend my gig and move on as it wasn't a big earner anyway (not enough volume).
Also related to copying, I am constantly being outranked in certain niches by competition who straight up copies my content or duplicates it with extremely poor word-spun level articles based off of my own. There are a few people out there who also copy articles (including pictures) from the top 10 and "Frankenstein" their way to top spots. I don't know whether to laugh or cry; on the one hand this is upsetting, and on the other it raises questions as to what the hell Google is up to these days.
From this, I can make a bold statement: Duplicate content does not matter AND it gets indexed AND it gets ranked AND it stays for awhile. If you are in enough niches, your own testing should have told you this anyways. But at least I can confirm with my own research that this is definitely the case.
First $100 AdSense Day
In June I also saw myself eclipse the $100 barrier and earn over that amount in a single day. I haven't been able to repeat that effort, but I came pretty close several times. It's just one of those days you have where all the stars align just right, and the results become phenomenal.
More Affiliate Earnings
June also brought me more affiliate earnings than ever. Most of it has come from my Ultimate Niche Finder Review and Unique Article Wizard. Sadly most of it has trickled off due to my lack of promotion, but it's been interesting to hear from people how they found my reviews. I don't intentionally backlink my Youtube videos nor this blog, so I found it curious when I saw myself ranked for #2 for the keyword "Ultimate Niche Finder". I've dropped a bit down but again it was rather surprising to see.
From that, I've been able to get quite a few sales in, which I think is pretty good considering I only spent an hour or so making those videos. I conversed with one of my readers that said he was able to get a look at the program from the eyes of a beginner, which sold him on it. I'm pretty happy that people are finding those videos useful.
I also finally got paid out by Unique Article Wizard. I have since cancelled the service since I'm moving on to more robust tools, but it was over $100 and that had been there forever it seemed.I honestly don't know why this is here.
Total June Earnings: $2031.75 (+$810.18 from May)
- AdSense Earnings: $1656.97 (+$561.72 from May)
Affiliate Earnings: $269.78 (+$238.46 from May)
Fiverr Earnings: $105 (+$10 from May)
As you can see, I killed it in June comparatively speaking. I took a hit in May from the Google Penguin update, but I have been able to bounce back rather nicely. I do tend to notice that the SERPs are constantly shifting daily in the niches that I'm in. This seems to coincide with the idea that Penguin data is being constantly refreshed. I expected major attrition every month now as the new norm. Once you have that mindset, it's easier to make decisions on whether to build or hold steady (answer: build, build, build).
I don't feel that I can rest on my laurels, so I am pushing really hard towards acquiring the tools needed for my backlinking strategy as well as doing a lot of keyword research for new sites. Regarding the former, I am basically trying the trial versions of nearly every piece of software or web-based service out there in order to find the right ones that match what I'm trying to do. You may remember that I tried Ultimate Demon, but I ultimately (no pun intended) found that it wouldn't work well for what I wanted. I think it's actually fine if you don't plan to grow past what my current portfolio size is, but I'm thinking ahead for hundreds thousands of sites, and it's just too slow in my opinion. Multiple copies would probably solve that problem, but again, I think that there's something else out there that's better. There are so many tools with 7-day or 30-day trials that are either cheap or free so you might as well try all of them. This month's guinea pig is Linkwheel Bandit.
I expect July to be a lower income month due to the removal of Fiverr income as well as the impending dropoff in affiliate earnings. In addition, I have not been as active with my CPA network research as I should have, so things have been slow to get started on that front. Getting some CPA offer promotion going would open up a new revenue stream and increase affiliate earnings, so I am thinking to put more research into offer selection there. With AdSense, I am very comfortable with my process and simply need to scale up, so I'm trying to spend my time wisely between the two.
I am on the fence again about whether or not to continue to write these income reports. What brought me to consider stopping again was this comment from NichePursuits about Tom Ewer from LeavingWorkBehind.com: http://www.nichepursuits.com/why-blogging-is-a-great-alternative-to-niche-sites/#comment-12511. It was the line that read "I looked down on your blog because I thought it doesn’t really give any true value, judging from the earnings you’ve made."
In the Internet Marketing world, no matter how open you are and what content you write, at the end of the day you are still measured by how much money you make in comparison to others. To think that you can only provide value to readers if you are earning "dolla-dolla bills" is completely ludicrous. Some of the most thoughtful posts I have read were on blogs that were not even monetized at all.
The Value of Income Reports?
Although my income reports show constant growth, I can't help but think that maybe I'm not providing value in terms of writing these reports because there is barely any insight here. Am I wrong? Are these still useful and relevant? Moreover, do you want to continue reading this or is it pointless? I don't think that they "hurt you", but I'm not really sure that they help. I question their value to you.
If you're a regular reader you'll know that earnings are not my primary motivation factor. I think that from a traditional sense, income reports were meant to be the motivating pieces that got you working hard next month, in addition to establishing credibility within the community. I think that if you're trying to provide real value that you'll do that in other ways without having to prove that you earn more money than your peers. Truth be told, my goals tend to get written down in Wunderlist as opposed to these reports like they're supposed to, so I end up not looking back over these unless it's to track historical earnings. On the other hand, it does give me something to do at the beginning of the month for an easy blog post. But, I am really just a guy who makes niche sites and blogs about it, not a pro-blogger that needs to keep pumping out content. Do I really need these? Probably not.
I'm interested in hearing you guys out. Do you care to read these things at all anymore, or are these reports "so 2011 that they need to die?" Further, is there anything that you would want to read about that you think that I can provide? Let me know, otherwise I will continue to shoot from the hip and recount my experiences with niche marketing as I go along.